SANTA MONICA, CA. – After a jury selection less than a week ago, lawyers on Tuesday dealt with changing evidence in the civil trial of Bill Cosby over allegations that he sexually assaulted a teenage girl at a Playboy mansion nearly 50 years ago.
Plaintiff Judy Hutt said in a recent court statement that she now believes the attack took place in 1975, when she was 16, and not in 1974, when she was 15, as she had long claimed to have caused cries of obscenity and a request for terminating the case of Cosby’s lawyers. who stated that the change impairs their defense before the trial.
“It’s unfair,” said Cosby’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjan. “It’s called an ambush trial.”
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Craig Carlan gave no indication that he planned to drop the 8-year-old case directly before the trial, which he decided to start on Monday as scheduled, and went ahead in preparation.
The 85-year-old Cosby will not be present at any of them, his lawyers said. The case gained new significance as one of the few lawsuits against him after the Pennsylvania High Court in June overturned his conviction for sexual assault and released him from prison, and many other lawsuits were settled against his will by his insurers.
Hutt’s lawyers said changes in her story came after a study of archival evidence led them to determine the dates when Cosby made “Let’s Do It Again” at a park in Los Angeles, where, Hutt says, they met before he took her away. to the mansion.
Evidence included a dated photograph of Cosby with a beard and tuxedo that looked exactly as Hutt remembered him.
The change was revealed in a declaration that was attached as evidence to the May 5 petition. But Bonjan said she should have received direct notice, and told the judge the move was “subversive”.
One of Hutt’s lawyers, Nathan Goldberg, was offended.
“We sued, was it subversive?” Said Goldberg.
He suggested that the defense had long been hiding the time of visiting the mansion.
“They always knew it was 1975,” Goldberg said.
Cosby’s attorneys said most of their defense in the lawsuit they built around the time of the trip to the Playboy mansion, including making every effort to establish Cosby’s whereabouts at the time, and based their planned questions for Hutt based on witness testimony from her story chronology.
Houth’s lawsuit alleges that Cosby forced her to have sex with him in the bedroom of the famous Los Angeles mansion of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.
Bonjan admits that Cosby met Hutt and took her to a mansion – the photo shows that they are there together – but the visit took place later, when Hutt was a minor, and that no sexual assault took place.
Bonjan also said the changed story also means changes in the relevance of judicial law, which treats 15-year-olds and 16-year-olds differently.
Without dismissing the case or delaying the trial, the judge agreed with Huth’s lawyers that they should have accurately informed the defense of the change of time, and he ordered Huth and a friend who confirms her story to take part in new testimony this week.
“It is extremely difficult to defend against 50-year-old allegations. No one could do it, innocent, guilty or anything in between, “said Bonjan, who also represented Cosby’s interests in his criminal case and represented R. Kelly’s interests in his child pornography trial in Chicago.” You work, work, work to create protection and then suddenly at the last minute it’s bait and switching ”.
Huth’s lawyer Gloria Allred declined to comment out of court.
Cosby gave testimony recorded on video at the beginning of the case, but he did not need to testify in the process.
His representatives said he would not travel to California from his home in Pennsylvania because of glaucoma, which made him blind.
But his absence does not indicate how vigorously he intends to fight.
“Mr. Cosby is a guy who has never agreed to anything in his life, and he’s not going to put up with it,” Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said after the hearing.
The Associated Press usually does not name people who say they have been sexually abused unless they are speaking publicly, as Hutt has repeatedly done.
Cosby, a groundbreaking black actor and comedian, was the first celebrity to be convicted of sexual assault in the #MeToo era. A jury at a retrial in 2018 found him guilty of drug use and harassment of a college sports administrator. However, the sentence was later overturned.
A barrage of such allegations of sexual violence destroyed his image as the “Pope of America” and led to multimillion-dollar lawsuits with at least eight women.
Follow AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton
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